Yannick pulls again

Yannick pulls again


norman lebrecht

April 02, 2014

Yannick Nézet-Séguin has cancelled on the Vienna Philharmonic this week ‘on health grounds’. It’s his third major cancellation in four months, prompting suggestions that the Canadian and his agent have overloaded his diary to the point of exhaustion.





Yannick is music director in Philadelphia and Rotterdam and has engagements with many other orchestras.

His Vienna replacement in Bruckner 8 on Sunday is Jaap van Zweden, the Dallas music director, making his VPO debut.


  • Darren says:

    Are they really going to let van Zweden stand in front of THAT orchestra? That’s just unbelievable. One shakes his head. One raises the eyebrow.

    • Anon says:

      Why? He can be excellent, and the Bruckner I’ve heard from him has been so.

    • Anon 2 says:

      JvZ’s Bruckner interpretations are a thing to behold! I’m positive it will be stunning!

      • Darren says:

        From all the things I ever heard about van Zweden, this is the first time I hear that he is an excellent conductor.

        What is sure that at a certain point he was a tremendous violinist, leading the Concertgebouw orchestra at a very young age. Afterwards the seemingly inevitable desire to conduct got the better of him and he climbed the ladder in ways sometimes surprising and rarely pleasant.

        In the past years his crude ways, his rudeness, his blatantly un-precise gestures and dubious choices of soloists have been a regular source of desperation for the orchestras he works with.

        Conducting Bruckner in Vienna, no more no less with the Philharmonic is a challenge he has yet to rise to.

        His Bruckner, ‘a thing to behold’? In Vienna? Let’s see.

        • DrewX says:

          Yes of course. So many talentless hacks rise to the ranks of the world’s top conductors. If only they had hired this fellow Darren I keep hearing so much about. I’m sure van Zweden is just friends with the orchestra manager or something.

    • Sounds like a great management. Cancel the one they wanted in the first place, to insert a name they did not necessarily ask for…

      • John Borstlap says:

        JvZ’s Bruckner belongs to the best that is around: hear his box with all the B symphonies. He is one of the greatest conducting talents of today, with stunning performances with the orchestras of Dallas, Hong Kong (his own rochestras), Chicago, Boston, NY, Philadelphia – all places where he is regularly invited. He made a brilliant debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker. So, the VPO is merely a logical result of this trajectory. Also, his invitation was already in the pipeline for a long time. His Parsifal in Amsterdam (issued on CD) is wonderful. It is an example of a career which is built upon achievement and talent, not management moves.

        • Comments I hear about JvZ from my friends who play in major orchestras have been mostly negative, and frankly his way of conducting hurts my eyes. He might be a good and serious musician, but a “great conducting talent” – probably not. Great conductors these days seem to be on the verge of extinction.

  • Brian says:

    Maybe he just found out there aren’t any women in the Vienna Phil and through in the towel.

    More likely though, yes, he’s overworked.

    • Brian says:

      “threw in the towel” that should be. On a more serious note, it would be remarkable if a conductor of YNS’s stature did take a stand against Vienna and refused to conduct the orchestra unless they reformed their hiring practices. It would never happen, of course, but a stance like that would surely send a message that the status quo there is no longer acceptable.

      • John Borstlap says:

        A beautiful example of totalitarian thinking clothed in left-wing, quasi-egalitarian garb, showing the suppressive heart of such ideologies. Any orchestra should be free to organize themselves to their own tastes. The VPO wants to be a locally-grown orchestra with white, male Viennese, and given that so many other orchestras, also in Vienna, have a much more cosmopolitan composition and a more evenly distribution of gender, why should they be under pressure? Should the men’s clubs in London be forced to open their quiet doors to women? Should women’s mandoline orchestras (yes, there are some in Italy) be forced to get some males in their midst? And what about Chinese orchestras nowadays, they are made-up entirely of Chinese… shame!

    • Darren says:

      FYI, there are women in the Vienna Phil. Not that it would matter to Yannick.

  • steve says:

    Conducted a very exciting performance of Mendelsohn’s 1St piano concerto the other evening at the RFH. I was very happy to have heard it!

  • Malcolm James says:

    Nelsons has also cancelled a few times. Two lessons;

    1. Just because you’re young you’re not indestructible.

    2. When you’re up-and-coming you want to say yes to everything. Once you’ve arrived, you can say no, even to the Vienna Phil. They’ll ask him again, doubtless.

  • Yannick shouldn’t pull, he should yank.

  • Don Ciccio says:

    He also cancelled in Philly a few weeks ago; Alain Altinoglu replaced him.

    It was a great program too:

    Gabrieli Canzon septimi toni, No. 2, from Sacrae symphoniae;

    Franck Organ Chorale No. 1 in E major;

    Villa-Lobos Bachianas brasileiras No. 5;

    Duruflé Four Motets on Gregorian Themes, Op. 10;

    Dukas Fanfare from La Péri

    Fauré Requiem, Op. 48

  • robcat2075 says:

    For the people above working on an Internet whisper campaign…

    Review from Die Standard:

    “In Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony, it seemed as if [van Zweden] and the Vienna Philharmonic had been making music together for decades…This was a Bruckner interpretation of exceptional accuracy and persuasiveness, to place alongside those of Herbert Blomstedt and Christian Thielemann.”